Three LeT, Hizbul militants killed in Kashmir’s Shopian

Last Updated 28 March 2019, 07:54 IST

Three local militants affiliated with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen were killed in an encounter between security forces in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Thursday.

A police spokesperson said based on a credible input about the presence of militants in Yawran area of Keller in Shopian, 70 km from here, a cordon-and-search-operation (CASO) was launched by the army and police during wee hours of Thursday.

“As the searches were going on, militants fired upon which was retaliated by the forces leading to a gunfight. In the ensuing encounter, three terrorists were killed,” he said and identified them as Sajad Khanday, Aqib Ahmad Dar and Basharat Ahmad Mir – all residents of Pulwama district.

The spokesperson said the trio were a part of a combined group of Hizbul and LeT outfits and were involved in many attacks and several cases were registered against them. He said that incriminating materials, including three AK 47 rifles, were recovered from the site of gunfight site.

Reports said as the news about the killing of the local militants spread, clashes erupted on in several areas of Shopian. Residents, especially youth, took to streets and pelted security forces with stones. An eye witness said the forces responded by firing pellets and tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters.

Mobile internet services were snapped in the district to prevent the spread of rumours, said an official.

Like last year, this year too security forces have been carrying out anti-militancy operations relentlessly and nearly 50 ultras have been killed so far. In 2018, over 250 militants were killed in Kashmir which was the highest in a decade while 217 ultras were killed in 2017.

Last year as many as 191 local youths reportedly joined various militant outfits in Kashmir which was 65 more than 2017. The new recruits mostly hailed from the restive south Kashmir region.

However, Army maintains that recruitment of local youth into militancy has seen a decline in Kashmir during the recent months.

(Published 28 March 2019, 04:43 IST)

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